Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Black Hills Trip, Day 5

So I left Cheyenne in the morning and started south towards Denver. It's only a few hour drive and I wasn't due until the evening so I made a little detour up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

front gate

some of the higher peaks


snowy trees

Up Next...
Travelling with the Starr family.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Benny Hinn - Let The Bodies Hit The Floor

I know this video is already on the aaron and brad blogs. This was just a test to see if I could learn how to put video on mine.
On one hand the video is very very funny.
On the other hand the video is very very disturbing in light of the fact that these people are being deceived by a weirdo.
Millstone (Matthew 18:6)

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Black Hills Trip, Day 4 continued

So Day 4 was a long driving day. All in all about 7,000 miles. I left the highpoint and headed southwest. Next stop: Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. I used some of the lesser highways and ended up cutting the corner of Montana through some really beautiful ranch land. Lots of wildlife including some deer and antelope that were playing, cows and even a red fox. Also an old church with nothing around for miles. It was a nice drive. Anyway, got to Devils Tower and walked around it. Very, very cool. And even though the weather wasn't that great there were still climbers on it. It would be really cool to climb. If I knew how. I continued driving as the weather got worse and it began to snow a little. I really like weather. Probably because I'm not used to it. Spent the night in Cheyenne and headed back towards Denver the next day. (and I realize some of the pictures are crooked but I don't feel like editing them so cry me a river and get used to it heckler)

The church in the middle of nowhere.

Devils Tower. You can just make out a climber middle left (white helmet) and a few more near the top.

The base.

The drive to Cheyenne.

Cheyenne at night.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Random Pics 3

Happy first day of Winter! Here's a few random winter pics until I have time to continue with the Black Hills saga.

The San Jacinto mountains last winter.

The Palomar Observatory last week.

Icy branches on Palomar Mountain.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Black Hills Trip, Day 4

This was another very long, but very exciting day. I was off to the highpoint of North Dakota, White Butte at 3,506'. It's actually on private property but the owner allows passage for a little donation. The hike itself is really more of a casual walk with a few steep parts. Only about 2mile roundtrip. The view is incredible.

The Approach

Looking down at the truck from the summit.

On the summit. It was very quiet, very peaceful and very cold.
Hightpoint #9, only 41 left!

The Black Hills Trip, Day 3 continued

So after my great hike I got back on the road. As usual on my trips, I had more goals than time and I needed to make it to North Dakota for the night. My next goal was, of course, ND's highpoint. I made a few more stops that day as I drove out of the Black Hills and into Rapid City (Taco Bell!!!), up through Sturgis, then back into the wide open Great Plains for the long drive to Bowman, ND. One of these stops was the Geographical Center of the 50 states which is about 32 miles north of nowhere and dramatically marked with a barely discernable red stick in the ground. It was definitely worth the extra 45 or so miles of dirt road travel. So I made it into ND after dark had a great nights sleep and awoke early to tackle the final "peak". Here's a few boring pics from the rest of Day 3. I'll start another post for Day 4.

The Geographical Center. You can just make out the red stick in the distance.

The National Cemetery north of Rapid City.

Not the least bit tired.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Last Dramatic Performance

So in the last play I was in I cussed in front of the whole church.

It was maybe 6th grade or so and Desi and I and a few other friends got stuck in an "outreach" drama play musical thing called "Crisis at the Crossroads". It was through some community theater group and we would go to various churches and youth groups to perform. Now I am naturally not a performer. I'm not now and I really wasn't then. I'm not sure why I was involved in this other than because I was a follower and Desi was doing it. Anyway, the setting of the play is at the gates of Heaven. Saint Peter sits there with Guard Angels around him and various people walk up and try to gain entrance into Heaven. I was a Guard Angel (which was ironic considering the Guard Angels were supposed to be tough and I was the skinniest one there and it probably looked kinda funny to see a kid with Gandhi arms sticking out from the billowy white robe trying to be tough). So I was a Guard Angel. Desi was a rich man who approaches the gates with his trophy wife and daughter and offers Peter money to get in. I think he actually said "look at me, I'm loaded" as he holds up a wad of cash. He doesn't get in and I forcefully lead him off stage to Hell. So anyway at the end of the play the other Guard Angel and I would dramatically quote some verses from Revelation and the lights would dim. On this particular day we were performing at a local churches special all-day Saturday "we're gonna take this valley for Christ so we need to get the kids pumped up with drama and music" youth jamboree spectacular revival things. You know, where the kids come in and listen to music and special guests and get worked into an emotional frenzy and then make pledges that will never be kept but it makes the adults feel good about doing something for the Kingdom. One of those things. Anyway, shortly before we are to perform I find out that the other Guard Angel is sick and that now I not only have to dramatically quote my verse but then his verse too! Now this wouldn't have been a problem had I a little time to memorize the line. But no, we're on in 10 minutes. So everything goes fine with the play. Desi still ends up in Hell but we get to hear an excellent Christianized version of Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love Of All". Now it's my turn. I say my own line without a problem. I pause. I began his line. I get maybe 4 words into it. My mind goes blank. Completely blank. And what's the only thing I have the presence of mind to say into the microphone in front of God and those eager youth? "Oh crap''. Yep, I said the word "crap" from the pulpit. Can it get any worse? I obviously was very embarrassed but I didn't realize the gravity of the situation until after the play was over and the director came up to me and said these exact words: "Tim, I didn't know you cussed". I didn't know I did either. But she told me I did and she also gave me the distinct impression that I completely ruined the entire play with my faux pau. The souls that had planned on getting saved that afternoon were now lost... So, I'm pretty sure that was the last time I was in a play. Not that plays are bad. If there is anyone out there who is currently in a play I'm sure you'll do fine : ) My only bit of advice for you is this: if you happen to forget a line, don't say crap.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Black Hills Trip, Day 3

So today I had a goal. The highest point in South Dakota is Harney Peak at 7,242'. The hike itself was nothing major. Including a few side trips it was only about 10 miles round trip with an elevation gain of roughly 1,600'. This was seriously one of the most awesome hikes I've ever done. I honestly didn't do much research on the trip so I really didn't know what to expect. But what I found was sooooo beautiful. The peak has an old stone lookout tower that just made the summit all the better. This section of the Black Hills is basically just several huge, distinct piles of granite and Harney Peak is the highest. Trivia: Harney Peak is the highest peak east of the Rockies on mainland North America. Other highlights are the Cathedral Spires and Little Devils Tower. Pics below:

The road to the trailhead (the Needles Highway)

Harney Peak from the summit of Little Devils Tower.

Cathedral Spires from the summit of Little Devils Tower.

Approaching the summit.

The view from inside the tower.

Highpoint #8

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Black Hills Trip, Day 2 continued

So after my spelunking adventure I continued north, deeper into the Black Hills. I think it was around this time that I stopped at a little restaurant in Custer and had the best buffalo burger ever. Next stop was the Crazyhorse Memorial. It is basically a gigantic rock sculpture that was started in 1948 and is expected to be completed sometime in 2237. Seriously, it was started 50+ years ago and they don't even have the head done yet. And they expect to do a horse too?! It probably didn't help that the first couple decades only one guy worked on it. Anyway, if you go, your $10 per person (or $20 per car) will get you unlimited top-notch VIP access to the exclusive, highly sought after... Gift Shop! The only other way to see the blasted thing any closer is to pay more money and take a bus up a road. Of course the road is only a couple hundred yards long so the view isn't that much better. So anyway, I left the Crazyhorse Memorial feeling thoroughly ripped off. Here's some pics:

So, with the light beginning to fade I rushed on to Mt. Rushmore (ha). Unfortunately it was getting late in the day so the pics didn't come out all that great. I'll post more when I post about my return with D & R a few days later.

The road to Mt. Rushmore has several tunnels that were purposely cut so as to frame the mountain as you drive towards it.

That night I slept in the truck on the side of a road and dreamed about the next days big hike...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Really Quick...

Got off a 48 this morning and decided I needed to relax a little. So I went exploring out in the desert. I found a really cool slot canyon and went for a bit of a walk.

The Black Hills Trip, Day 2

Have you ever seen "Calamity Jane" with Doris Day? She sings a song about the Black Hills and that's what was in my head when I awoke on day 2. It's a great song but I only know the chorus and after you sing it in your head 37,000 times it gets a little annoying. I left Hot Springs enroute to my first big stop: Wind Cave National Park. It's called Wind Cave because the first natural opening was discovered by a guy whose hat was blown off when he stuck his head over the hole. The natural entrance is just big enough for a person to squeeze through and you can feel a cool breeze coming out of it. Now the cave is accessed through a revolving door and down 300 stairs. Wind Cave is currently the worlds 4th longest at over 121 miles but that number constantly gets bigger with ongoing explorations. The only way to get in the cave is on a tour. Here are some Wind Cave pics:

My ideal vacation home.

Coming Soon... the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mt. Rushmore